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Advertising Age reports on a new study by Bolt Media reporting that only 25 percent of people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 34 can name all four major broadcast television networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

Three networks that most of them do know however, exist in the cable universe: MTV, Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central.

Asked by Bolt Media how they spent their free time, 84 percent said surfing the Internet, while 76 percent said "hanging out with friends." Seventy-one percent said they watch movies, and 69 percent watched television. The five most-watched networks: Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, MTV and Cartoon Network.
KC's View:
Now, to be fair, this hardly is a scientific survey. Respondents were part of a self-selecting group who were users of the Bolt Media website.

But it certainly is a kind of wake up call for people who assume that things will always be the same, that there are certain institutions on which we can always count. If you surveyed the same people who didn’t know the names of all the major four broadcast networks, we wonder how much they would know about CPG mainstays such as Procter & Gamble or Unilever or Kraft, or retailing icons such as Safeway or Kroger. Are all these companies proving their relevance to these young consumers in such a way that their brand messages are being consistently and constantly reinforced? Maybe. Maybe not.

Meanwhile Forrester Research reportedly has written a report emphasizing very much the same thing – that the "next generation of spenders" are an entirely different animal, connected via the Internet and with tastes that are more "American Idol" than "American Bandstand." Because their connectivity is almost completely via the Internet, they will respond to marketers that are comfortable with this medium, talking with them rather than at them.

Assumptions about what young people know and don’t know, and care about and don’t care about, are dangerous to make.